Liverpool, struggling in the league, revived on Monday by winning the traditional Mersey derby 2-0 against Everton, their first Premier League success of 2023 after four consecutive outings without a win.
These three points acquired thanks to goals from Mo Salah and Cody Gakpo, bring the Reds back to ninth place. champions. Everton remains 18th and relegated.
In front of their audience, Jürgen Klopp's men started the match with a lot of energy, but their desire to go forward was marred by too many inaccuracies when approaching the opposing area.
The game changed in the 36th minute, in less than ten seconds: from a corner, Everton defender James Tarkowski placed a header on Alison's post, and on the block, Darwin Nunez and Salah combined to two at the lightning speed. After sprinting all the way up the field, the Egyptian victoriously took over the cross of his Uruguayan friend without control (1-0, 36th).
The Reds doubled the lead just after the break, again on a counter. The Dutchman Gakpo, who arrived in the winter transfer window, scored his first goal in his new jersey (2-0, 49th). Liverpool then dominated without managing to increase the score, despite the return of Diogo Jota, cheered by Anfield for his return after four months of absence with a calf injury.
"Tonight we were there and that must be a sign for us of what we have to do. We probably had 70 percent possession and scored on two counters, which makes it special," Klopp said.
It's been a tough enough season for a Liverpool side who were in contention for an unprecedented treble last year. There have been extenuating circumstances, however, with Klopp having to deal with injuries to key players, while also learning to live without striker Sadio Mane, who left for Bayern Munich last summer.
Still, the team's erratic form has been hard for fans to accept, with the Champions League their only realistic trophy hope this season. In the league, the fourth place remains a distant goal, with a humble 3-0 loss to Wolverhampton in Liverpool's previous game being a measure of its struggles.
No wonder then that Klopp celebrated so enthusiastically in front of the Kop. "We needed this game, we needed the performance and our people absolutely deserved it. I loved the atmosphere - it's an insane atmosphere that people create here," he said.
Before kick-off, Liverpool learned their fans had been cleared after the events of last year's Champions League final in Paris, where riot police used tear gas outside the Stade de France.
An independent review has found UEFA to be primarily responsible for security breaches that saw fans locked out of the stadium in crushed queues which "nearly led to disaster".
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